How to make money with Instagram

Woman checking her Instagram account

‘Instafamous’ and ‘online influencers’ are terms you come across more and more. Nowadays, millions of people share their (social) life on online platforms as Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram. Hundreds of people can even make a living out of it. But is there a success formula for an influential and profitable Instagram account?

What is Instagram?

Instagram, property of social media site and company Facebook, is a free mobile application where you can edit and exchange photos and videos online. Once you’ve signed up for a free Instagram account, you get a personal page where all your shared photos and videos are stored and shown to the online world. You can follow friends, family and other acquaintances, but you also have the opportunity to follow popstars, professional athletes or just strangers. Of course, other people can choose to follow you too. And the latter is exactly how you can make money on Instagram.

How to start a successful Instagram account?

If you’re a famous person or have a famous brand, it’s a lot easier to make money with your Instagram account compared to when you have to build up a large follower base from scratch. After all, you’re only commercially interesting to a company, brand or agency when you have more than 20,000 followers on your Instagram account. It requires a lot of time, effort and patience to achieve such a number of followers.

If you’re not a famous person, but do aim for making money with your Instagram account, you have to make sure you stand out from the other profiles. You can achieve this by creating killer content, in a niche where competition isn’t killing (yet). Look for something unique to ‘Instagram’ about, something that hasn’t been done for a hundred times already. Moreover: choose your USP, your Unique Selling Point. Why should people follow you, what makes you different from the rest?

Also, choose something that you can show with that the pictures you place are really your property. This doesn’t mean you have to be visible on every picture, or that you have to use watermarks. Rather maintain a style of photographing that people can recognize you from. Choose a specific theme, or keep photographing certain subjects.

How to get more attention for your Instagram account?

After determining your niche, theme and USP, you can start with making a number of pictures. Once you have uploaded a few pictures to your Instagram page, you can start with building your fan base. Unfortunately, there isn’t a fast success formula to get lots of followers, but there are a few tricks to speed things up.

Of course, you want to be seen and found as soon as your Instagram profile is up and running. Therefore, you’ll need to create awareness. One of the best ways to realize awareness simply is to follow people with Instagram profiles that personally inspire you. Like the pictures they share and place comments, so your (Instagram) name pops up in front of their followers. Chances are those followers will start following you to. Be generous with liking and commenting: this doesn’t only show you’re interested in other people’s work, it also increases your visibility. Once you have built up a beginning follower base, don’t forget to reply to the comments you receive about your own photos. In that way, your followers will feel appreciated.

Do hashtags function as keywords?

Everyone with an Instagram account knows an Instagrammer who places a rather long recital of hashtags (#). Doesn’t look nice, but it is effective, so it appears. You can use hashtags to make sure your Instagram profile can be found, since people do use hashtags to look for content. Once you add a couple of hashtags to your post, you will notice that it receives more likes than a post without hashtags. You can also reach a much wider audience than only your current followers.

A hashtag basically is another name for keyword. You can find out which keywords or hashtags are used a lot, by using Iconosquare. Check out which hashtags are trending and which keywords match with the theme of your pictures.

Besides adding hashtags, you can also make money by tagging people, companies or brands in your pictures. Don’t haphazardly start tagging brands, but only tag the brands of products that are actually visible in your pictures. As a fashion Instagrammer, you could for example register at Like To Know it. You’ll earn money when people buy something you are wearing on a picture and have tagged the vendor of. Also make sure to tag Instagram itself to increase the chance of appearing in the general Instagram feed. That can result in lots and lots of likes very quickly.

Project professionality: learn to use editing software

You always have to keep in mind two important things when creating content: quality and authenticity. The quality greatly influences the success of your feed. And we don’t per se mean the number of megapixels your pictures have, but it is especially the degree of professionality that matters. Take your pictures from the right perspective, with a good composition and the correct lightning. Also, it is important that you know how to use photo editing software. Usually, people will notice the difference between a default Instagram filter and a picture that has been edited by an expert. And last but not least, make sure all your Instagram photos fit each other, so don’t use all kinds of filters interchangeably.

Also, the authenticity and credibility of your Instagram account matter. It seems so self-evident, but lots of people do tend to present themselves differently online. Often, they only highlight the positive sides of their lives or pretend to be different from who they really are. Your followers will notice this deceit soon enough and ultimately lose their interest in you. Rather give your followers insight into your real life: film yourself without make-up, mention setbacks and remain close to yourself. Look for followers who are interested in the topics of your posts, that eventually is a lot more valuable than having people who follow you for the wrong reasons.

How do you earn money with your Instagram profile?

As soon as your Instagram feed has evolved into a visually attractive who with a renowned number of followers, you qualify for collaborations with brands and companies. Once you collaborate with a brand, you are seen as an online influencer. This type of influencer marketing is a recent phenomenon where famous Instagrammers are deployed to promote a product or brand. The amounts of money you can earn vary from 100 to 2000 dollar per post. And that certainly is a #nicebonus!

Why do companies choose for Influencer Marketing?

Famous people always have had influence on the sales of a brand or on a product they wear or use. Influencer marketing is a form of this ‘famous people’ marketing, but actually made possible by people like you and us. Influencer marketing is a modern marketing communication mean, where companies pay famous socialites for promotion purposes. The most important aspect of influencer marketing is the authentic and valuable interaction between the influencer and his or her followers. Companies often choose this marketing strategy because it’s an effective marketing method: people can often relate to influencers, influencers are thought to be reliable and above all, it’s an effective way to reach a specific target group.

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